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To what extent has Europe benefited from a “peace dividend” through the European Union and its budget?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Analyzing the concept of 'peace dividend'.
  3. The European construction.
  4. The existence of a peace dividend stricto sensu, in the aftermath of World War II.
  5. The EEC budget.
  6. A significant part of structural actions.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Sources.

The notion of ?peace dividend? was forged in the 1980s to convey an idea that had already been analysed before: the link between security/peace, and economic growth. Without going into further details, one may wonder if this economic theory can be applied to the European Union, which budget has known a massive increase since the beginning of the European construction. To what extent has Europe benefited from a « peace dividend » through the European Union and its budget? In order to answer this question, we need to tackle three steps of European integration. In a first part, it is necessary to define precisely what a peace dividend is, and to what extent the beginning of the European construction can be considered as resulting from a peace dividend. Then, we shall analyze the evolution of the EC budget, focusing particularly on the case of enlargements.

[...] Thus, the reestablishment of political stability / democracy goes hand in hand with economic growth, even though there is necessarily a time lag between the actual democratic transition and the membership to the EU however, some financial instruments membership? instruments or loans from the European investment bank) help those countries to redress their economies even before the countries become member States. By enlarging, the EC strengthens its power and influence, and becomes a major peace and stability zone in the world. [...]


[...] However, I would not talk of a peace dividend in an economic way (as analysed in the first part) for several reasons: first, defence is a national policy, so asserting that the EC benefited from a cutback in its military expenditures would be irrelevant; then, if growth stemmed from peace, it was not linked to military reductions, as most member States were involved in the Cold War through the NATO; and finally, today's situation is radically different from the EC's expansion of the 1970s, with the slow economic growth of national GNPs, and the necessity to have a tight budgetary discipline plus the beginning of a European defence policy, made necessary by the US' withdrawal from European affairs, which is undoubtedly a challenge of importance for all member States. [...]

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